Ted Conover buys a trailer on some of the cheapest land in America, and sets to getting to know his reclusive new neighbours.
"The amazing thing was that a person, even a person of very limited means, could actually buy a piece of these vast acres of land—some of it farmland with pumped irrigation but most of it just undisturbed, primeval—for not too much money. Not that this would be a smart investment in terms of return: Paul had told me he’d paid about $2,300 for his five acres twenty-five years ago, which was probably close to what it was worth today. “But you know what they say about land,” he said. “They’re not making any more of it!” The lots are now mainly sold online, on the sites that pop up when you search for “cheap land Colorado,” as Matt and many others had done. It is even sold on eBay, where one serial seller maintains that the location of a particular lot doesn’t make much difference: “There are no rare finds here, it is all the same views, sage brush, same rattlesnakes.”
"But to me these lots are not all the same. A few of them had neighbors visible, and you wanted to size up neighbors. A few have been occupied before and have junk left on them. A few of them are situated near enough a cell tower that you’d get more than a single bar of signal. A few are near a road that might see several cars a day (with the associated dust). I thought about these things and about where I might like to buy. I couldn’t entirely explain why: I wasn’t going to move out here, and it wasn’t my wife’s idea of a nice vacation property. And yet, and yet . . ."